Posts tagged ‘Alex’

Double Back Flip on Crappy Diving Board with Torn Meniscus

“Me doing a double back flip with a torn [meniscus] on a crappy diving board at Turner Falls in Oklahoma.”

-Alex Davis, July 28, 2008

June 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

Like a tulip shoved under a giant heat lamp, my upper body wilts beneath yet another wave of depression and grief. More than five years have passed since Lisa’s death, but I’ve become increasingly unable to withstand her absence.

I spend the next six hours coding, hoping this attempt to shed the blues (so blue it’s black) may result in productivity. I find myself humming a tune the oldies station hasn’t played in years:

Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay

In a world without love

February 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Death Perception

I’m back in Texas to visit my family and friends, and today would have been Alex’s 25th birthday. They say losing someone gets easier with time, but I am not convinced. Sure, the pain is no longer acute (most of the time), but it seems to have seeped into every fiber of my being. I can feel it within my marrow, in the roots of my teeth, and on the soles of my feet.

When I first learned about death, I remember staying up at night and crying. The thing I struggled to process was the fact that I would probably live to bury my parents. I wanted to die before they did so that I wouldn’t have to endure that kind of loss. I never really thought about losing my brother. 

Almost two years ago, I moved for the first time since Alex passed away. On one hand, it was nice to get out of Portland because it was there that I received the horrible news. On the other hand, he was still alive when I moved there in October 2008. What I am painfully realizing is that every literal and figurative move I make from this point forward will occur without his earthly presence. That’s unsettling to really think about.

My last few visits to Texas didn’t feel as depressing as I had anticipated. It almost seemed like Alex was in summer school or on some fun trip. It felt like he simply never came back from college. Sometimes I caught myself eagerly awaiting his return, but I would inevitably remember that he’s not coming back.

Since the last time I came home, my mom moved from the house we grew up in. Now it’s clear he’s not coming back. I don’t even get my hopes up anymore.

I often feel sorry for myself. Then I feel bad about feeling sorry for myself, and then I feel justified. But sometimes I embrace my sadness. It is here to stay, and it’s an important part of me. At a certain point, the grief becomes so profound that it seems to transform into an empowering, enthusiastic force that propels me upward and forward. Maybe that’s what happens when we die: the agony and injustice and bullshit of this life launch us into a euphoric, boundless ascent.

May 11, 2011 at 4:17 am Leave a comment

Goodbye for Now, Boyfriend

I just found out that our beloved cat, Boyfriend, died yesterday.  He was at least 12, but we’ll never know his exact age because he just started coming by our house one day and eventually decided to stay.  He was blind in one eye and had a cute little birthmark on his lip.  Boyfriend was a pacifist, a diplomat, and a master snuggler.

It’s been over a decade since I lost a pet and less than two years since Alex died, so Boyfriend’s death is really difficult for me.  I like to think I’ll see him again, though, and I find solace in that hope.

When asked whether animals have souls and could experience an afterlife, author and veterinarian James Herriot replied, “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. You’ve nothing to worry about there.”

Cats really are just little people in fur coats.

September 9, 2010 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

Celebrating “Semi-Charmed Life”

In the summer of 1997, my girlfriends and I camped out in a backyard tent and listened to “Semi-Charmed Life” on repeat for several hours. I’m the kind of person who tires after hearing a threshold amount of even the best music (How many times can a person really stand to listen to The Joshua Tree or Thriller?), but this Third-Eye Blind hit has never ceased to astound me.

As thirteen-year-olds, we only somewhat understood the sexually and chemically charged lyrics. Also, the breezy, fast-faced tempo made it difficult to decipher what lead singer Stephan Jenkins was even singing. It didn’t help that we couldn’t just “Google” a line from the song and retrieve the lyrics. I recall mistaking “And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse” with “And it speaks to you like the birds in the forest.”

Now, of course, I realize that “Semi-Charmed Life” is the seminal anthem of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. It was also my brother’s theme song. We played it at his memorial service, and it was awesome to hear “Doin’ crystal meth will lift you up until you break” and “How do I get back there to the place where I fell asleep inside you?” blast in a room full of relatives, young people, old people, Christians, atheists, and floral arrangements.

I went to Newport Beach this past weekend and had a great time slowly running my bare feet through the sand. I thought, “I believe in the sand beneath my toes / The beach gives a feeling / An earthy feeling / I believe in the faith that grows.” I thought about how hard it really seems, sometimes, to get through this bittersweet, ironic, defeating, gratifying, semi-charmed life. I thought about how I can’t not believe that there’s life after death. I simply cannot accept a reality in which I will never see Alex again.

I’m not listening when you say goodbye…

April 1, 2010 at 6:14 am 1 comment

Lighters Up

Lighters up
like at a Queen concert
if Freddie Mercury were still alive
if you were still alive
singing Bohemian Rhapsody

Mama, just killed a man
a lot like Miss Jones,
I think I just shot her son

I think it just snowed in East Texas
Who knew
memories of you would get me
singing Randy Travis
higher than the pine trees
that grow tall upon the hill

The one in the summer
where we used to smoke pot
I thought, what’s wrong
with this neighborhood?
urban life decay

I look for you everywhere:
in crossword puzzles,
clouds, thin air, Rumble Fish,
katamari damacy, Disneyland, flour bags,
snow, the Aurora Borealis, grocery stores,
dreams, nightmares, everywhere
Wouldn’t you?

Lighter’s up
its flame
cathedral champaign
and my bleeding heart
A most beautiful ruby red.

December 9, 2009 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

A Message from Aunt Kathy

20081211_172655_04

Dear Alex,

Where are you? What are you doing? Can you still hear our thoughts?

I know our time on earth must be a small blip compared to eternity, but it is still hard for us to comprehend.

Every time we hear certain songs, we believe you hear them also and we treasure those brief reminders.

We love you so much. We miss you so much. We are still having a hard time understanding.

September 8, 2009 at 7:32 am 1 comment

Happy Birthday, Little Brother

Alex's Tree 2     May 11, 2009May 11, 1986 was the most significant Mother’s Day our parents will ever celebrate. I don’t remember you coming home from the hospital, but I do recall sneaking up to see you in your crib. We fought like wild animals until I went off to college, but unconditional forgiveness followed each of our clashes.

In my absence, we started to grow closer, and I wish we had more time to continue on that meaningful trajectory. Our visit to New York was a blast as you bargained in Chinatown and navigated the subway. People started to ask if we were fraternal twins. I took this as a compliment because everyone I know thinks you’re incredibly handsome. We laugh and sometimes even talk the same. The high-pitched hoot distinguished us in theaters, hallways, and classrooms. I’ve hardly laughed like that, though, since you left. I wish I could, if only just to hear your voice.

Yesterday, I saw the live oak tree planted in your memory. Dad can see it from his office, and there’s plenty of space for its roots and branches to flourish. It will outlive me and my children and my grandchildren, and I like the thought of that. I wish you could have lived to see old age. Maybe I will be fortunate enough to do so.

Your birthday always coincided with my return from college for the summer. When I visited home this weekend, I almost expected you to drive up in your red Civic and talk smack with me. Pluto’s not fat anymore, and we have a brand new toilet upstairs. That’s about all that’s changed since January. Seems strange. It still baffles me that time has the audacity to progress as usual in your absence.

There’s a hole in my heart, but I can’t seem to bleed to death. I feel at once devastated and honored to live the rest of my life in your memory. The dichotomies that often govern our existence are overwhelming. Perhaps, over time, you can help me reconcile the contradictions, loose ends, shades of gray, and injustices within this life.

It’s so difficult to articulate my love for you, and I never had the chance to tell you just how proud I was. Am. I guess that’s because all of those feelings of compassion, fondness, and respect we shared went without saying. I know you knew how much I cared. And for that, above all things, I am endlessly grateful.

Happy Birthday, Alex. The intense sorrow following your death can never compare to the endless joy your life created. Today marks your twenty-third year. And in death, as in life, your gifts continue to arrive.

May 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm 9 comments

Alex Vicarious

alextree3The hole through my lip

Throbs faintly to remind me

Of your countenance.

March 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm 5 comments

Self-Psychoanalysis

laurenalex

Me: I mean, just because I’ve been “okay” for a week or so, I don’t want you to get to thinkin’ I’m fine or anything like that.

Former psychiatrist: Don’t worry, Lauren: I would never think that about you.

————————————————-

Lately, I’ve been following guys around who resemble Alex from certain angles or who share his name. I stop staring and/or following only until I am 100% certain the person I am seeing is not my brother. With this in mind, I had a dream the other night about shopping alone at the Book Stop by the Olive Garden in Humble (now Barnes and Noble and within Deerbrook Mall). One of the book store employees had “Alex’ written in green lablemaker across his name badge. After keeping an eye on him for a bit, I lost interest because he looked and acted like a bit of a schmuck – sufficient evidence that he was not my Alex reincarnated.

I continued through the shelves of text, half-heartedly looking for a few items to add to my John Updike or African American literature collections. I passed the children’s section and noticed a display with Where the Wild Things Are and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and a few other books Alex and I read as kids. Suddenly, a spell of nausea ran over me, and I steadied myself against a row of travel guides. The room began to spin as I screamed out, “Someone help me!” before falling onto the floor and curling up into a ball of panic. No one came to my assistance. And then I woke up.

The problem is that, even while awake, I feel alone and helpless in this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad situation. No one comes to my assistance. No one can. The most I can hope for is the ability to move forward, if even an inch at a time.

Throughout troubled times, I sporadically become childish in my use of body and spoken language. In the dream, I symbolically curled up into the fetal position. I think the desire to return to one’s childhood or infancy reflects a need to be taken care of beyond what is available or even possible. Of course, if I could somehow return to my childhood, Alex wouldn’t be gone anymore, thus further fueling my sense of desperation.

Maybe someday I will grow up and effectively function as a responsible, productive adult. Until then, I prefer to live in a world of crossword puzzles, films, and literature where I stay distracted from the “unbearable lightness of being.”

February 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm 6 comments

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